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Leadership Model

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Management and Leadership Competencies at UF

It’s a challenge to be an effective leader or manager in a complex institutional environment—but it’s certainly possible and absolutely critical to reaching our aspiration to become a premier university.  We hope you find this model useful as you reflect upon your own successes and opportunities. We also hope that you will take advantage of the leadership development programs that will assist you in cultivating these competencies and your own leadership excellence.

Jodi Gentry, former Vice President for Human Resources, introduces the UF Leadership Competency Model and explains the research and development that went into its creation.


Based on interviews and focus groups of effective leaders and managers at UF, these competencies form a framework that describes the knowledge, skills, and behaviors needed to be an excellent leader at UF.

As you look at the Leadership Competencies Model, you will notice that the four quadrants—Build Trust, Create and Communicate Vision, Generate Alignment, and Cultivate Talent—represent broad categories critical for leadership success. We invite you to explore deeper into the four quadrants to look at each competency’s definition and the manager and leader behaviors associated with each.

UF Training and Organizational Development offers a number of development opportunities to help cultivate these competencies. Our Leadership Development Programs are aligned with this model.  In addition, our Leadership Development Toolkit provides job aids, podcasts, and suggested readings that align with the model and are available whenever you need them.

Visit our UF Leadership Toolkit for resources to support these identified areas.

Build Trust



The ability to actively champion or influence an idea or position when needed; demonstrate support for faculty, staff, and organizational interests
  • Extends trust to others
  • Conveys confidence in employees’ ability to be successful, especially at challenging new tasks
  • Supports and promotes faculty, staff, or organizational interests
  • Understands and facilitates the tenure, promotion, and permanent status process
  • Supports fair treatment and opportunity for all
  • Challenges practices or policies that may be exclusionary
  • Speaks out on issues of concern to the organization in order to exert influence on decisions affecting the university
  • Takes the lead and champions an idea or position
Emotional Intelligence
The skill of perceiving, understanding, and managing emotions and feelings effectively
  • Knows self
  • Recognizes and considers the impact of own mood, biases, convictions, and behavior on others
  • Senses others’ feelings and perspectives, and responds accordingly
  • Builds rapport with others
  • Hears, accepts, and integrates feedback from others
  • Controls and filters emotions in a positive way
  • Effectively manages relationships
The genuine ability to relate to all people; unpretentious, polite, sharing credit, unafraid to admit mistakes
  • Is approachable
  • Shares credit
  • Admits mistakes
  • Shows respect for others
  • Willing to sacrifice personal goals for organizational goals
  • Realizes that personal success is connected to team success
Adhering to moral and ethical principles; soundness of character
  • Maintains and fosters ethical behavior in all business activities and decisions
  • Gives consideration to the rights and viewpoints of others
  • Strives to do the right thing without prompting
  • Acts in a manner that is fair, forthright, and honest
  • Keeps confidences
  • Models and reinforces ethical behavior in self and others
  • Builds trust at all levels of the organization
  • Follows through on commitments
  • Carries his/her share of the workload
  • Perceived as responsible, reliable, trustworthy
  • Reliably maintains confidential and sensitive information
Role Model
The ability to lead by behavior and example that others can emulate
  • Leads by example
  • Exemplifies professional behavior and image
  • Shows loyalty
  • Maintains consistency between words and actions
  • Honors commitments
  • Admits mistakes
  • Possesses and applies technical knowledge and skills needed to make decisions and perform at a high level
  • Stays current on practices and trends in area of expertise and plans, responds accordingly
  • Sets and demonstrates high professional standards
  • Reflects an ongoing commitment to and appreciation for diversity
  • Is sought out as a resource to provide advice or solutions
The ability to clearly explain decisions and the process or motivations involved
  • Tells the truth
  • Admits and fixes mistakes promptly
  • Provides accurate information in a timely manner
  • Makes decisions publicly when possible to instill trust
  • Facilitates access to information
  • Explains decisions
  • Ensures that motives are clear (no hidden agendas)


Create & Communicate Vision



The ability to listen actively; to impart thoughts, views, information, and ideas persuasively and adaptively
  • Clearly and effectively expresses thoughts, information, views, and ideas using both formal and informal methods
  • Ensures minority opinions are heard
  • Actively listens to others
  • Maintains an open-door policy
  • Adjusts style and format based on audience
  • Regularly invites dialogue with and candid feedback from others
  • Masters multiple methods to convey information
  • Ensures key issues are addressed
  • Delivers information quickly and effectively up, down, and throughout the organization
  • Plans and delivers communications that are impactful and persuasive
  • Delivers proactive communications on key issues
  • Articulates a shared vision
  • Creates a compelling and inspirational picture of the future
  • Maintains visibility
Political Savvy
The ability to understand and apply the dynamics of influence, the workings of an organization, and decision-making to achieve objectives
  • Understands the formal and informal workings of the organization
  • Understands and interprets internal and external forces affecting the job
  • Knows organization’s mission, history, stakeholders, and customers
  • Knows the “pace of business”
  • Understand how the organization operates, its goals, and the external factors that influence the success of the organization
  • Uses tacit knowledge
  • Uses the pace of work to achieve goals
  • Understands the political climate and operates effectively within the climate
The expertise to ask the right questions, to identify issues, obstacles, and opportunities and leverage that information to develop and implement effective solutions
  • Addresses a problem by using a logical, systematic, sequential approach
  • Uses facts and available information to develop logical assumptions
  • Recognizes discrepancies and inconsistencies between facts and/or data
  • Draws correct inferences from information
  • Asks good questions and probes all sources of answers and feedback
  • Recognizes the appropriate problems to work on
  • Marshals resources needed to work on a problem
  • Looks for creative and innovative solutions
Strategic Thinking
The ability to clarify and articulate direction, priorities, and a shared vision
  • Builds an inspirational and compelling shared vision and sense of core purpose
  • Fosters an ongoing dialogue about the organization’s vision and purpose
  • Seeks out diverse perspectives when developing strategy
  • Develops and communicates goals that align with the organization’s vision and purpose
  • Sets clear expectations and establishes a course of action to achieve goals
  • Sets priorities
  • Thinks proactively
  • Anticipates and prepares for roadblocks
  • Analyzes the organization’s position relative to similar institutions and develops strategy based on current position
  • Creates a climate of creativity to achieve organizational goals
  • Understands how vision and purpose in other areas of the organization interrelate with own area


Generate Alignment



The ability to create a culture based on clear standards and the expectation that personal responsibility is the norm across all work units
Manager: Accepts personal responsibility; expects personal responsibility from “higher-ups”, peers, and employees; articulates standards; ensures people execute at a high standard of work; is consistent; willing to have difficult conversations when needed

Leader: Creates a culture of a high standard of work; fosters culture of responsibility between work units

The drive for results and efficiencies that achieve intended, measurable outcomes
  • Able to determine appropriate processes to get things done
  • Knows how to organize people and activities to ensure favorable outcomes
  • Understands how to separate and combine tasks into efficient work flow
  • Finds or creates ways to measure performance against goals
  • Establishes efficient structures, processes, and teams to meet objectives
  • Maintains commitment to goals
  • Seeks out and implements organizational techniques for optimal performance
  • Follows tasks through to completion and takes responsibility for results
  • Completes projects within specified time and budget parameters
  • Meets deadlines
  • Measures results to stated goals
  • Integrates technology to improve efficiency or effectiveness
  • Mobilizes appropriate resources to achieve goals
  • Considers return on investment prior to starting a new project
  • Takes calculated risks
  • Uses best practices to apply specialized knowledge to organizational problems
  • Works across organizational boundaries to achieve desired results
  • Concentrates on outcomes rather than activities
Fair and Legal Management
The ability to create a workplace environment that ensures safety, security, fairness, and inclusion for employees, and complies with all federal, state, and university regulations
  • Maintains a fair and legal work environment by understanding and complying with university, state, and federal requirements such as the Fair Labor Standards Act, Family and Medical Leave Act, and anti-discrimination policies and legislation
  • Supports UF’s EEO principles
Financial Management
The acumen to make smart decisions with an overall understanding of the financial factors and implications of those decisions
  • Understands funding and budgeting model and applies this to balance competing demands for resources
  • Understands key financial indicators
  • Uses cost-benefit thinking to set priorities
  • Establishes and implements sound financial management practices and controls
  • Manages budget within set parameters
Demonstrates the ability to make decisions authoritatively and wisely after adequately considering various courses of action
  • Learns from mistakes
  • Knows when to speak and when to listen
  • Uses discretion when called for
  • Can perceive climate and respond accordingly
  • Understands the impact and implications of decisions
  • Weighs costs, benefits, risks, and possible rewards when assessing a situation
  • Makes timely and sound decisions


Cultivate Talent



The capacity to empower and develop others and provide effective performance feedback
  • Committed to the development of others
  • Delegates responsibility and authority to the lowest appropriate level
  • Identifies and nurtures talents in others on a one-on-one basis
  • Provides open, honest feedback and accurate information
  • Addresses performance issues promptly
  • Provides direction and meaning to people’s work
  • Reinforces/redirects behaviors as needed
  • Develops and fosters faculty and staff
  • Encourages continuous learning
  • Removes barriers by providing the appropriate tools and resources to achieve goals
The intentional ability to work co-operatively with others; to be part of a team, and share information across and between work units
  • Fosters interdisciplinary, interdepartmental cooperation
  • Seeks and encourages diverse opinions
  • Encourages teamwork
  • Provides opportunities to work across work units
  • Solicits input from others
  • Shares knowledge and information
  • Obtains cooperation from others
  • Creates culture that encourages sharing between work units
Facilitative decision-making
The ability to build consensus, encourage shared governance, seek input from diverse groups, and assert authority when necessary to ensure a resolution
  • Manages group interactions effectively
  • Builds consensus
  • Manages meetings effectively
  • Manges self during conversations
  • Doesn’t personalize disagreements
  • Reacts appropriately-doesn’t over- or under-react to a situation
  • Knows when to close a discussion and move to a decision
  • Willing to assert authority when necessary to facilitate change, face issues, overcome an impasse, or ensure a resolution
  • Creates a culture and processes that encourage shared governance
  • Seeks and values input from diverse groups when making decisions
The firm determination to do something in spite of obstacles to achieve organizational results
  • Willing to state an opinion, have a conversation, or take charge of a situation despite potential opposition
  • Willing to make decision in difficult or ambiguous situations, especially when time is critical
  • Gives people candid and helpful feedback
  • Approaches challenging tasks with a willing attitude
Talent Selection
The ability to assess staffing needs and foster an effective process to recruit, interview, select, and retain diverse staff to meet long-term organizational needs
  • Assesses current and future staffing needs based on organizational goals and budget realities
  • Understands and uses effective interviewing questions and techniques
  • Creates and facilitates a process to recruit, interview, and select qualified staff
  • Values diversity in applicant pools and hires